Vital St. Gemme Beauvais House - Ste. Genevieve, Missouri
Posted by: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
N 37° 58.800 W 090° 02.580
15S E 759715 N 4207722
Quick Description: French colonial "poteaux-en-terre" (post-in-ground) house in the Ste. Genevieve Historic District in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri.
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 6/6/2008 8:40:55 AM
Waymark Code: WM3YF3
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member T A G
Views: 73

Long Description:

"Vital St. Gemme Beauvais House. 20 South Main Street. South half, c. 1792; north half c. 1801 (dendrochronology); renovated 2000.

Property type: French vertical log house. This post-in-ground, vertical log house originally had a linear plan. At the time it was originally built, it had only two rooms, two cabinets against the south wall, and a possible cabinet against the north wall. The large room north of the chimney was the cuisine with a chimney and fireplace separating it from a cabinet against the north wall. The chambre in the south end of the building was separated from the cuisine by a large stone chimney.

The exterior has been drastically altered. The building was reduced in length from its original size. Its roof was changed by adding gable end walls and a double pitch roof. A gabled, wood-framed, two-story, rear addition was constructed. In the 1930s, dormers were added and a single pitch roof was installed. The interior was also substantially altered. Stairs, closets and toilets have subdivided the spaces, and a large stone chimney was replaced with one of brick to accommodate a furnace flue. The cabinets at the south end were removed, the chambre subdivided into two rooms constructed from ceiling boards salvaged when the building was shortened. Despite these changes, the first floor framing system of puncheon log joists of the north half and hewn timbers in the south half, the garret floor framing of irregularly spaced hewn timber joists in the north half and solid hewn timber floor in the south half and the poteaux en terre wall logs" with their pierrotage remain in place.

This house is one of only three post-in-ground houses remaining in Ste. Genevieve. Its main block measures 62 feet 5 niches across the front and 35 feet deep. The walls are constructed of hewn cedar logs, infilled with bouzillage, sheathed with horizontal clapboard on the outer surface and sheathed in plaster on the inner surface. The original roof truss system consisted of kingpost trusses. The lower portion of the truss was cut away when the roof was remodeled to allow the addition of a second story. Typical French colonial galleries extend the width of the front and rear walls. Wood box columns support the front gallery roof. Posts are of red cedar and secondary rafters extend over the gallery giving the characteristic double pitch to the roof. A central chimney with stone foundation and brick upper construction rises from the roof.

The principal entrance, located at the center of the front of the house, opens into the largest room. Secondary entrances are placed at the south end of the front wall, at the north end of the back wall, and at the southeast corner of the house. Fenestration consists of double hung windows, either six-over-six or two-over-two lights. Louvered shutters flank lower story windows. The roof is clad in wood shingles. Three dormers project from the west roof slope. The center dormer is fenestrated with paired two-over-two windows, while flanking dormers are fenestrated with single, two-over-two, double hung sashes. A brick chimney projects from the north end of the roof ridge.

The present interior floor plan consists of a large central room flanked by narrower rooms at either side, each running the depth of the house. A kitchen addition is at the southeast corner of the house. The original, simple open attic space was remodeled in the twentieth century into three bedrooms. The interior walls are plastered with chair rails. Ceiling beams are exposed. During the nineteenth century, the house was remodeled into a three-room dwelling with a fourth room added to the southeast of the house to form an L-plan. Dormers were added to the house in the early twentieth century. Piaget-van Ravenswaay photographs from the 1930s show the front porch partially enclosed with lattice, an off center stove chimney rising from the rear roof slope, and a rear, open, shed-roofed porch. The house was recorded by the Historic American Buildings Survey in 1939 and was subsequently recorded by a HABS survey team in the 1980s.

The house was built for Vital St. Gemme Beauvais (1746-1816) and his wife Felicité Janis. He was a son of Jean Baptiste St. Gemme Beauvais, Sr., who died at Ste. Genevieve about 1760 and a brother of Jean Baptiste who built the Amoureux House.  He was descended from Gabriel Beauvais and Marie Crosnier of St. Martin, Perche, France.~ Historic District National Register Nomination Form

This building is included in two historic districts.  It is listed as the Vital St. Gemme de Beauvais House on the earlier National Landmark Historic District  with a construction date of 1786.

Earliest Recorded Date of Construction: 01/01/1786

Additional Dates of Construction:
North half 1801
Renovated 2000


Architectural Period/Style: French colonial "poteaux-en-terre" (post-in-ground)

Type of Building e.g. Country House, Stately Home, Manor:
French colonial village house


Interesting Historical Facts or Connections:
One of three "poteaux-en-terre" (post-in-ground) houses in Ste. Genevieve.


Listed Building Status (if applicable): Contributing building to National Historic Landmark

Main Material of Construction: Vertical timbers post-in-ground and post-on-sill construction

Private/Public Access: Private

Related Website: [Web Link]

Rating:

Architect (if known): Not listed

Landscape Designer (if known): Not listed

Admission Fee (if applicable): Not Listed

Opening Hours (if applicable): Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Tell us about your visit with any details of interest about the property. Please supply at least one original photograph from a different aspect taken on your current visit.
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